Women Have Harder Time at Job Interviews

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As if we needed any special proof of it. We always knew that and fumed over it, and now there is a study proving that interviews for women are apt to be more exacting compared to those for men.

At best job interviews are rather sweat-breaking events. You have to pass the previous day digging for the lowdown, rehearsing your part, laying out the appropriate clothes. Then you try to wangle a day off at work, and finally steel yourself to turn up cool, calm and collected before those scary HR guys who weigh your life on the palms of their hands.

So far it’s the same ordeal for any and all genders, and it’s difficult to see wherein the segregation lies. But a closer look shows that women are given rougher going than males and are interrupted more often.

As passed on by The Telegraph, a recent study published in the Journal of Social Sciences states that men cut into a woman’s utterance twice as often as they do into a man’s. Moreover, when they break into a man’s sentence, the interruption is usually of a more affirming and positive nature – here is your gender favoritism, in case you still doubted that it exists.

The foundation for the research was job interviews held at two major Californian universities during two years. Their analysis reveals that hiring panels question female applicants longer – the fact that may result in the candidates giving in to panic and undue excitement marring their presentations. Besides, women were subjected to “keep proving it” attitude.

Male applicants were generally asked four questions that entailed interruptions from the interviewer, with women there were five questions of the kind. Also, women had additional follow-up questions, adding up to 17 questions in all – while the average number of questions for men made 14, meaning women have to deal with three extra inquiries making their interviews longer and more arduous.

The study concluded that the policy of piling questions on questions may appear as expressing more doubts in the applicant’s competence, often unwarranted as if the answers were incomplete or not properly phrased.

The report, affirming that women had to break through a thicker wall of mistrust, further states that even shortlisted female candidates carrying strong CVs can get the same kind of biased treatment with sturdier challenges interfering with the coherency and cogency of their presentations.

Such conversational artifices are subtle but yet potent in creating a less healthy interview climate replete with unnecessary challenges raising doubts in women’s suitability for the post.

From another point of view, additional questions can actually help the presenter along, but the study failed to analyze this point. Yet going by the videos from the interviews women certainly look as if they were rushed through their prepared talks trying to reach the conclusion sooner than they had scheduled it. They often excused themselves by saying things like “in order to save time, I’ll skip this point,” “I will cover it in a few sentences to avoid taking up much time,” or “since time is short, I’ll pass on to the next part of my presentation.”

Hence it can be safely assumed that a greater number of questions put to female applicants tend to make them want to rush their talk and omit points and arguments that could be crucial for the quality of their presentations.

Incidentally, as the Annual Report to Congress on White House Office Personnel has it, women’s average earnings are less than male employees’ by 20%. Where’s justice? Not in this aspect of life, surely.

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